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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > December 2018 > SUPER TUBERS


Apart from its infamous gaseous effects on the digestive system, the artichoke is no joke, says Rob Smith. It’s an attractive plant, easy to grow and produces tasty tubers


Jerusalem artichokes belong to the sunflower family – hence the attractive flowers they produce

Jerusalem artichokes, sometimes called ‘sunchokes’, are not related to the thistle-like globe artichoke – they are actually part of the same family as sunflowers.This is evident if you are lucky enough to get them to flower as they will produce lots of palm-sized mini-sunflowers which are loved by the bees.

Producing a rather stately vegetable when given the space to thrive, the Jerusalem artichoke is totally self-reliant and needs little care during the year apart from a bit of watering if the weather is really dry. You’ll be able to tell if this is the case as the sunflower-like leaves will begin to droop, yet they perk up when given a good drink. Even though there is little care needed for this underrated vegetable, it is not shy in giving a bountiful crop of tasty tubers throughout autumn and winter.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

So another year is over on the veg plot – I hope you’ve had a successful and rewarding one. As ever it brought its challenges – the late spring and hot summer certainly made things interesting. My polytunnel crops were the best ever (although one arm is now longer than the other from carrying watering cans) and many of you have told me you’ve had some wonderful soft and tree fruit. That, however, is in the past and we need to prepare for the fun and challenges ahead. With that in mind we have some great features for you this month. Fruit expert David Patch offers his advice on planning a fruit garden, while Ben Vanheems encourages you to leave the spade in the shed and to join the ranks of converts to no-dig gardening. As usual we have features on growing a diverse range of crops and get out and about to meet readers from the North East to the South West. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of their wonderful plots as much as I did.